Sunday, December 14, 2008
Keeping an ID Theft Victim's Information Private is Catching On
Tom Fragala, CEO of Truston Identity Theft Services, started his MyTruston identity theft and recovery product based on the principle that he didn't believe an identity theft victim should have to give up their information to a third-party to protect themselves. After all, most of this information gets stored in a database, which is one of main places (besides trash cans) identity thieves go to steal information.
Information stored on databases is legitimately bought and sold by information brokers all the time. Criminals sometimes pose as having a legitimate interest to access the information. Of course, there have also been cases of dishonest employees selling it without a so-called legitimate purpose. This makes it extremely difficult to determine exactly where any stolen information originally came from. At this point in time, so much information has been stolen, we routinely hear about it being sold in chat rooms right over the Internet.
It didn't make sense to Tom to put all this information in another place, where it could potentially be compromised again. Databases have created an ability to store more information than ever before and transfer it with a click of a mouse.
Having been an identity theft victim himself, Tom had some rather personal feelings on the subject. It should also be mentioned that Tom has spent thousands of hours being a personal advocate for victims of this crime.
Since launching the do-it-yourself tool — where you don't have to be an expert to protect yourself or recover from identity theft — it has received numerous awards and become a hot topic within the technology industry itself. Besides not having to be an ID theft expert — you don't have to expose any of your personal information to a third party and the protection aspect is and always has been free. There is a charge for using the recovery tool, which can be cancelled anytime. I'll tell you a secret about that last statement, further down.
I discovered the latest news that the Truston concept is catching on when reading Tom's blog, which is well worth a read if you are interested in identity theft or privacy issues. "Today we announced that our MyTruston product has been included in the portfolio of the Affinion Security Center, the largest provider of identity protection and privacy services. Affinion has nearly 35 years of industry experience and over 65 million members of their many products. Clients of their identity protection and privacy products include Wells Fargo, Bank of America and The Hartford Insurance. Truston's Software-as-a-Service technology is deeply integrated within the Affinion Security Center’s core solution platform, IdentitySecure," according to Tom himself.
Just the day before, Truston also announced a partnership with CreditFYI, which is a one-stop shop for the best credit card rates, best loan rates, as well as, to learn how to protect your good name and credit rating.
Besides Affinion Group and CreditFYI, Truston is a private label partner with Identity Force, which provides identity theft protection services to the U.S. Government. Truston has been given a Four-Star rating by PC Magazine and has received several awards. "Truston's awards include a 2008 Product Innovation Award, a Hot Company 2008 Award, being selected for 10 Companies to Watch in 2008 by the Pacific Coast Business Times, the 2008 Tomorrow's Technology Today award, and it was identified as a leader by Javelin Strategy & Research in their December 2007 identity theft market report," according to the press releases.
If you are interested in just how user-friendly the tool is, the Truston site has a tour you can take.
I've also had the pleasure of speaking with Tom on several occasions and beta tested the tool myself before it rolled out. I've covered this in several blog posts on Tom and the MyTruston identity theft tool.
Now for the secret I promised earlier in the post. I mentioned that using the tool always has been and always will be free, but there is a nominal charge for using he recovery services. The secret is that if you go directly to the Truston site - you can use everything free for 45 days. Last, but not least, this free trial doesn't require you give them a credit card (which will get charged if you forget to cancel) until after the trial expires.